News / Middle East

Anti-Government Protests Spread Across Middle East, North Africa

Yemeni anti-government demonstrators shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen, February 18, 2011
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen, February 18, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Elizabeth Arrott

Demonstrations against long-serving governments continue to roil the Middle East and North Africa Friday from Libya eastward to Bahrain.

In Libya, more protests as well as funerals for those killed in recent unrest were held after midday prayers, and witnesses said demonstrators gathered in the port city Benghazi, a bastion of resentment against the government.

Human Rights Watch said Saturday that 84 people have been killed in recent violence in Libya, many of them in Benghazi.   Graphic videos posted on the Internet have shown shootings described as being inflicted by armed forces against protesters.  

Libyan media are tightly controlled, and the contents of the amateur videos could not be independently confirmed.

Another video purports to show protesters in Tobruk cheering as crowds knock down a government statue.

Libya


In Tripoli, so far largely untouched by the turmoil, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been at the center of pro-government demonstrations - an apparent attempt to place himself within the context of change demanded in nations across the region.   He recently doubled the salaries of state employees and released 110 people accused of being Islamic militants.  

But from the perspective of having the world's longest-serving leader, protesters view his gestures as missing the point.   The oil-rich nation has a more equitable standard of living than neighboring countries, but it is Mr. Ghadafi's crushing, often arbitrary, political system in place more than 41 years that protesters want changed.

Protests began Tuesday, with Thursday's demonstrations called a "Day of Rage," an echo of protests in Egypt and Tunisia that ended with their leaders stepping down.

Yemen

In Yemen, anti-government rallies were being held for an eighth day Friday.  Stephen Steinbeiser, director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies in the capital, Sana'a, says the demonstrators show no signs of stopping.  

"It certainly hasn't gotten to the point that Cairo was at a couple of weeks ago, where everything has come to a standstill," said Steinbeiser.  "But it also doesn't seem that it is unfolding in the same way that Cairo unfolded, in the sense of a kind of peaceful - relatively peaceful - positive, people-led movement.  And that's a bit disconcerting."

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is accused by protesters of running a repressive regime.  But his authority is far from absolute.   Tribal allegiances, a bid for independence in the south, a sporadic revolt in the north and al Qaida forces in the east complicate any demands for change in the Arab world's poorest nation.

Related report by VOA's Carolyn Presutti

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid